I love birthdays. More specifically, my birthday. The world is full of humble folk who prefer to celebrate their day of birth quietly, who dread the spotlight and let the day pass without drawing attention to themselves. I am not one of those people. I’m turning 20 tomorrow and I want everyone and their uncle to know it! Blame it on my upbringing if you must. Birthdays were always a fiesta in the Walker household. My dad always brought home a "store bought" cake in some crazy shape. Over the years, I’ve consumed a teddy bear, a large rabbit, and a small ukelele among other confections. We had other birthday traditions at my house; every year we’d line up the guests in our yard and play "Red Rover," that game where everyone joins hands and one person attempts to break through. The big holly bush in our yard added a certain degree of challenge to the game, since breaking through the hands meant running straight into the holly. Victory came at a price.

When I became too cool for childish games (translation: I entered Junior High), I decided to hold my first-ever slumber party. I believe every girl must undergo this painful rite-of-passage on her journey to womanhood. I was turning thirteen, need I say more? Picture a dozen middle school girls eating sugar and crashing. Picture the birthday girl and her equally hyper friend deciding to stay up all night for the first time ever (this was back when staying up all night was a treat, not a necessity). We got a little bored around 3 a.m. so we decided to freeze a few bras. Of course we got carried away and by the time our fellow partyers awoke, their shirts, socks, and panties were solid blocks of ice. In my attempt to thaw out their clothing (and their tempers), I broke the dryer. My friends were furious, my mother was furious and I was furious at the tattle-tale who told my mom about the dryer.

As my teenage years come to a close, I am reminiscent of my youthful and carefree birthdays. Yes, I am older and wiser now (or at least I will be by tomorrow), but I still have faith that my big day will be as swinging as ever. True, I have no cake in the shape of a barnyard animal to eat nor a dozen bras to freeze. I don’t even have a holly bush to plunge into headfirst! But I’m sure I can find something that’s equally fun to do. After all, my birthday only comes around once a year! Thank goodness.

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Title: Mariposa | Author: Kayla J. Walker | Section: Features | Published Date: 1999-05-26 | Internal ID: 684